When electric transport will take over all the roads of the world

(ORDO NEWS) — In addition to autonomy, another factor that has exploded in the automotive industry over the past few years has been electrification.

Experts say that, apparently, the future of autonomous vehicles lies with electricity. But electric vehicles have been around for a long time and still haven’t taken over the market. Why is this happening and are there any prerequisites for changing the situation?

In reality, hybrids only have an advantage over a relatively short historical period, until solid-state and combi-type batteries are mass-produced. Solid-state batteries are at least more practical and safer than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Their design involves the use of a minimum of materials, and the fewer parts in the battery, the less often it will break down and fail.

A truly huge step forward is the all-electric vehicle, as it provides many other benefits in addition to being an alternative source of energy. For example, the body of an electric car is quite flat and open, it is easy to pack and assemble, and many components of a traditional car are simply missing from it.

Due to this, you can easily change the configuration of the electric vehicle. For example, a car can be designed so that passengers can get in at the front and walk through the cabin to the rear.

Today, the most important obstacle to the mass distribution of electric vehicles is the need to charge batteries. Battery systems are improving, but charging the same electric vehicles requires infrastructure, so most automakers have already joined forces to create a common network of charging stations.

Solid State Batteries

Solid-state batteries have been considered one of the most promising and advanced technologies for several decades. However, unresolved technical problems for a long time did not allow researchers to talk about the commercial prospects of this type of battery.

Recently, QuantumsScape, an American company based in San Jose, Calif., which has been developing solid-state batteries since 2010, shared encouraging data showing significant progress in this direction. The solid-state batteries have withstood 400 consecutive 15-minute fast charge cycles, after which they retained more than 80% of their original capacity.

The company’s single-layer cells are capable of withstanding more than 1000 charge cycles, retaining more than 90% of the initial capacity. During a 15-minute cycle, the solid state battery charge increases from 10% to 80%.

A solid state battery has a cathode and a ceramic separator that connects to the anode electrical contact. When the battery is charged, the lithium in the cathode is separated and passed through a ceramic separator, which forms a lithium metal anode, enabling high energy density charging.

Taiwanese manufacturer ProLogium is also working hard on solid-state battery technology. At CES 2020, the company unveiled its solid-state, ceramic-based EV batteries that use the company’s patented Multi Axis BiPolar+ (MAB) technology to significantly reduce the number of cells (up to 8-12) and improve battery energy density.

Since more energy can be stored in the same volume, a solid-state battery increases the range of electric vehicles and other electric vehicles. The company claims that its solid ceramic electrolyte batteries maintain their integrity even when subjected to high temperatures up to 280°C.

It is expected that the use of solid-state batteries in land transport will increase the range of the car and extend battery life.

Solid-state batteries are created at once by 9 large companies and successful startups. Toyota plans to mass-produce solid-state batteries by 2025.

Battery Charging Infrastructure

One of the problems of modern electric vehicles is a rather low range on a single charge. At the same time, the average charging time for electric vehicle batteries is several hours.

Last year, Israeli company StoreDot unveiled a prototype Extreme Fast Charging (XFC) car battery that can charge to 100% in 10 minutes.

The increase in charge rate is achieved by replacing graphite in the anode with silicon and step voltage regulation during charging using Non-Linear Voltammetry technology (nonlinear voltammetry). After fast charging, the electric vehicle is expected to have a range of 800 km.

The Chinese company DESTEN has developed the world’s first 900 kW ultra-fast charging system, which allows you to charge an electric car in 5 minutes to a level that provides a range of up to 500 km.

After 3000 recharge cycles, the battery retains up to 80 percent of the SoH (State-of-Health – the degree of battery health, reflecting the current state of the battery compared to its ideal state). At the same time, the specific battery capacity is lower than that of standard lithium-ion batteries. But this disadvantage is compensated by support for ultra-fast charging.

A qualitatively new stage in the development of the electric vehicle industry was the development of the Vehicle-2-Grid (V2G) concept in the early 2000s – it allows you to organize a controlled and bidirectional flow of electrical energy between transport and the network.

Electrical energy is supplied from the grid to the electric vehicle in order to charge the battery. Conversely, when the electric company needs energy, for example to provide peak power, the vehicle returns the electrical energy back to the grid.

Now automakers, the largest manufacturers of batteries and chargers, international energy companies are actively looking for ways to implement the V2G technology concept.

The active construction of charging stations for electric vehicles does not solve the problem of the availability of charging infrastructure. With the growth of electric vehicles on the roads, there may simply not be enough stations for everyone, there will be queues.

The Israeli company Electron decided to look at the problem differently. In 2023, the United States will have its first road in Detroit that will charge electric vehicles driving on it using inductive technology. Car owners will have to install a special receiver on a car worth no more than a thousand dollars.

Electron is not the only company working on wireless charging technology for an electric car or any other electric vehicle. Electricity generating roads with photovoltaic coating already exist in France, South Korea, Sweden, Italy and China.

True, their operation is often fraught with great difficulties. So, the canvas of the world’s first road, consisting of solar panels, in the village of Touruvre-aux-Perche (France) has been heavily degraded over the three years of operation, cracks and delaminations have appeared. Reality did not live up to expectations.

when electric transport will take over all the roads of the world 2

In December 2016, a test section of a kilometer-long photovoltaic road was inaugurated in the village of Touruvres-aux-Perches.

Three years later, the canvas fell into disrepair. Solar panels could not stand the wear and tear from tractor tracks, rainfall and temperature changes. In addition, they initially generated less electricity than the authors of the project expected.

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